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tv   In Depth with Annie Jacobsen  CSPAN  April 22, 2017 2:04am-5:03am EDT

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depth" for the next three hours start now. >> host: annie jacobsen, let's start with some definitions. what is area 51? >> guest: area 51 is that secret base out in nevada where all kinds of mysterious things happen, that you and i can talk about and maybe we know what's going on out there, maybe we
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don't. >> host: why is it called "area 51"? >> guest: big debate. i believe it's called area 51 because of the original project that went on out there in 1951. information given to me by some of the sources that i interviewed at length for that book but, of course, everything about "area 51" is kind of a puzzle inside of the puzzle. that's even debated. the actual origins, the original date, the original story of "area 51". >> host: what was going on? >> guest: the atomic energy commission was doing lots of nuclear testing out there in the middle of the desert, and they wanted to keep what you're doing secret. and the cia was kind of come into existence with its programs. the two merged in this idea of if you have a secret base and sight of a secret place you can do secret programs. >> host: this is not a military operation necessarily?
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>> guest: area 51 has every organization you can imagine there over the decades, military, intelligence community, atomic energy commission. so everybody has their foot in area 51 i think. >> host: what is "operation paperclip"? >> guest: i get the idea of my books of the books i've written before. and when i was finishing up area 51, i learned quite a bit about nazi scientist scientist who are very important air. force technical very important r force technical he was a very important air force technical intelligence person. and when he retired in the 70s he was given a defense departments distinguished civilian service award pixel that's kind of its incredible
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high honor to get from the pentagon. when i looked into his past i learned he had been, during the war, world war ii, he had been one of the most important technical intelligence officers for during -- and he was given the highest award and i thought how does this happen? how do you work for one side and did work for the other side? that is what i wrote "operation paperclip." that was the supreme court of the journey into narrative story. >> host: but what was "operation paperclip"? it was to bring nazi scientist to the u.s.? >> guest: yes. after the war we brought as many as 1600 nazi scientists to create our weapons program. and this is something that really brings up a lot of moral questions and what i found most intriguing about writing the book as a journalist, perhaps
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with all my books is trying to maintain the neutral position and looking at both sides of the argument. because many people will tell you paperclip was imperative. we had to bring those nazi scientist to the united states in order to beat back the russians. others will tell you how could we possibly brought these nazis here? there's dod weapons policy for you. in a nutshell, i.e. extremely collocated and always two sides of the argument. >> host: what is "the pentagon's brain"? >> guest: "the pentagon's brain," book number three for me, okay, so that idea came from paperclip when my editor, i was finishing up with paperclip and brown, probably the most famous "operation paperclip" scientist
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created our rocket program and then really responsible for the apollo program in many regards. >> host: and using nazi scientist? >> guest: he had been hitler's rocket builder. and my editor at little, brown asking was finishing up paperclip, what went on with brown in such and such year? i looked into it and found out that, this was in 1957, that this new agency was emerging at the pentagon and it was called darpa, the advanced research projects agency. we now know as darpa with the d4 defense. but when your beginning this organization, the query was who's the best scientists in america to lead this program? delete all of americans, military technology and was called blue sky research. they chose von browned. he was interviewed for the job but his caveat to take the jump
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was just out but i need to bring 12 of my colleagues on the rocket program. they were all former nazis. so that was the dividing line for the pentagon. they said no. and they passed on him being darpa is first director. but the way that it came about calling it "the pentagon's brain" was really realizing that the defense department is looking at the great mind. that's what they are concerned with. they want to know who will lead us in technology of the future. >> host: what are some of things that come out of darpa? >> guest: i mean, you name it. the most famous is of course the internet which was originally called the arpa net, but technologies like gps, laser weapons, you know. there's no end to what the pentagon produces. there's reason say that artificial intelligence is a
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darpa product. biotechnology. so there is, the idea that, this is important to think about. darpa is the most powerful and most productive military science agency in the world. and so few people know about it. that's pretty much what i wrote the book in a nutshell because it was like how can this agency be so significant, kind of changing and shaping our world if you will. and yet and yet it's public perception, it's close to zero. >> host: psychokinesis, what is it, annie jacobsen? >> guest: book number four, for me, that i just published last week, is the idea of, the book is called "phenomena" and it's about the government investigations into extrasensory perception and psychokinesis.
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extrasensory perception, gaining knowledge through means other than the five known senses. psychokinesis, the alleged ability to move matter with the mind. these are very controversial subjects, and subjects that many scientist will tell you is pseudoscience. why i pursue prayers in writing about this is, having come off of this very shortsighted book, "the pentagon's brain", on the other side of the spectrum was sometimes called squishy science. but the pentagon, the defense department, intelligence community are interested in both of these subjects, and so i. >> host: so taxpayer dollars are spent studying psychokinesis and esp? >> guest: yes yes. i mean, this goes back by the way, look, all roads lead back to the nazis. i find so when i'm investigating and reporting on defense department weapons programs and
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intelligence community, intelligence collection program. and esp, psychokinesis, this whole idea of the phenomena leads back to the nazis as well. so we're talking decades of research in this area still going on today, but the original programs came from the idea that after the war we had an intelligence collection unit called operation -- actually begin when the war was still going on, and we sent our sort of finest scientists to try to capture nazi technology. and we did and this is the link between all of my books. so one of the cache of documents that we found, this leads up to the book "phenomena," was part of heinrich hitler's organization which was called -- and within that organization
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himmel or was investigating extrasensory perception, psychokinesis. and when we got these documents they became very interesting to a lot of individuals in the military intelligence community. particularly because guess about the other half of the documents. the russians. so anything that we knew they had as well we were worried about who would win the race and that is how the psychic arms race really began. same way, you know, or in the hard science department you had the rocket arms race, that it did get a man space began with captured nazi documents and scientists, literary von braun. >> host: was your career -- >> guest: not at all. date and circumstance intervened in one's own life. i think that's why it's such an
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interesting concept for me to write about, about how circumstance has a role in the path that one is on. i wanted to be a novelist when i was younger. and it went away to boarding school with a typewriter when i was 15 and is going to be the great american novelist. decades past and that was not the case, and one of my mentors said to me, stop making things up. pursue the truth to its the truth that matters. she also point out that i had a bit difficulty following direction, and that if it worked with an editor at a newspaper or a magazine, i would, you know, learn how to follow direction. that is exactly what i did. it was extraordinarily helpful for me and i tell anyone who's interested, struggling with writing to do that. because if you are willing to
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take criticism about your work and work with a very smart individuals who can help you streamline your ideas and pull out what's really important and send you on other paths and suggest you interview different people, that becomes i think an enormously powerful journey. when you bring of the great minds the mix to kind of direct you. and then you kind of wind up where you're headed, at least that's my experience. >> host: how did you get started on "area 51"? >> guest: that was fake and circumstance intervening. i also think luck comes into play. what was interesting writing the book on extrasensory perception and psychokinesis is a lot of the scientists who lean toward let's say the supernatural. talk about luck and they talk about coincidence, and they say these are these, these fall into that category, believe it or not
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extrasensory perception. it's a very squishy science concept to think about what i like thinking about it particularly because of this question that you brought up. so how does one get a lucky break, okay, you could see fortune favors the prepared mind. if you were always reading and writing and thinking and working on subjects that are of interest to you, then circumstance intervenes and you're on your way. what specifically with "area 51" i was at a dinner party with, seated next to a gentleman who i had no 45, six, seven, eight, nine years. he was sort of a distant family member, always under the impression that he was an aircraft designer because i knew he worked for lockheed. and he leaned over to me one day, must've been 2007 or eight and he said, boy, have i got an interesting story for you. at the time i was reporting on
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terrorism. he said he was reading what i wrote and enjoyed reading it. so what was his interesting story? he said the cia just declassified my life work. i invented stealth technology, or rather i was 15, the physicist who led the team. this goes back to when eisenhower was president. so as you can see this is a remarkable lead for a reporter to get. i mean, i went to the cia and lo and behold they had just declassified this aircraft program called oxcart that took place at it. 51. so then i begin to work with lubbock talking to him about his role in the science and technology role in building this incredible aircraft. i learned very quickly, aha, there's a back story to this back story and there's a lot of tangents that are super interesting and they will all fall under axis of the entry fee
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to it and that's i got the idea for the book. >> host: when did the larger public become aware of area 51? >> guest: well, that's a great question. i mean, it's very interesting terms of u.s. national security because when you think about what a powerful and potent site area 51 is come as a report in the book, the fact that it remains almost unknown to the general population until the early 1990s is astonishing. talk about being able to keep a secret. i make the analogy in the book about the manhattan project, same idea. vice president harry truman did not know about -- or congress. the once funded program did did not know about the program. so i think secret keeping is very interesting. i write about in all of my books, but to your question, it wasn't until an individual named
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robert lazar squeaked this bit of news out which landed on the edge of conspiracy. and then area 51 became known. i think that is the origins of an extraordinary amount of conspiracy theory that grew out of that base and still exist about that base. there are still things going on there now. >> host: who is robert lazar? >> guest: he was an interesting melissa engineer. and he was out there at the base according to him and he saw things that he believed were -- >> host: he was working there. >> guest: despicable people tell you he never worked there. the myths inside the puzzle inside the conundrum. but he stood by his position that he said he saw an alien. and then you get into these come as i reporting historical all these realms of black propaganda directed to address some enough
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to make them look like an alien? this idea of mythology and misinformation and disinformation is part and parcel to area 51. and really to all of the books that i've written, the subjects are conducive to the. >> host: you talk about yet to sign an oath if you are working at area 51. is it called area 51 by people who work there as well or is that just our -- >> guest: yes and no. originally when i was anything the scientist who worked there and the spies and the pilots, they would call it the ranch. there are all kinds of code names for it. but, and, of course, was fastening was to me when i was writing the book is the actual word area 51, the name area 51 was classified one is writing the book. it has since been declassified because president obama referred
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to it publicly. that's a quick way to declassify something. but when it's looking at those documents we were talking about earlier, the oxcart documents, you would be reading along and then it would be a small word redacted like black over. if you look at it up to a light, at area 51. and out of something like 7000 pages of documents that i reviewed, i found two places where someone forgot to black out area 51. you would see it and it was an aha moment. >> host: robert lazar, las vegas television. what happened? >> guest: well, he went on tv and made this claim -- >> host: and local gym in las vegas ass yes. and said that, that there was a lead technology and that there was an alien out there, and people have been fascinated with u.s. owes for millennial.
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so this was like setting off a match in dry grass and the people went, the story built and it became kind of a firestorm. and i think that that has since become a great point of contention and what area 51 is on such a lock that issued it because people will not move off of the idea that there are aliens a other. many people believe that. stl do. >> host: what kind of cooperation did you get from the various government agencies that you worked with on this, or tried to work with? >> guest: every book is different. i mean every book is different. there's kind of a dance i think that's done with the journalists because remember, just basic job of a journalist is to inform the public. i mean, in spirit you're really not supposed to have an opinion. someone would think you would want to work with transparent
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elements of the government who also make things known. but i find and my experience that current lets say like the pr office of the of these agencies, they only want to present a certain message. and that's not, that's a message not a fact, let's say. so where i do most of my reporting is interviewing scientists who are retired who worked on very significant programs for these individual agencies, and are acutely aware of what they can speak out and what they cannot because it still classified. because i also write about a lot of cold war programs, things that were incredibly interesting and involve extraordinary classification measures decades ago, everyone wanted to know about them then but could not pick when they become declassified sort of the public has moved on.
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i find in my experience by tracking down the scientists, the supermen of science if you will, they are willing and happy to share their stories about these incredible programs. people have lost interest and its this idea that it's important to know that passed to safeguard the future. and that's the greatest joy i think with working with defense scientists, who are dedicated patriots who believe in what they did, but are also especially as they get older willing to share the pitfalls, the failures and the press office of any given military or intelligence agency does not want to talk about failure, purity. they only want to talk about success. i think there's a danger in that. that's a team going to all of my books. it's not to ridicule of failure,
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but rather to demonstrate that failure is part of success. but we must be very careful and, about trying to cover up failures. >> host: how much of what goes on or did go on at area 51 is still classified? >> guest: i mean, if i -- >> host: or don't you know? >> guest: this is the analogy. it's sometimes that i wrote the book on area 51, but if you imagine an iceberg and you think of how much of the iceberg you see and then how much is below the surface, i mean, i probably come on guessing but it probably, if you plant the flag at the top of the iceberg, that's probably what i reported in a 450 page book. what has gone on there and will continue to go on boggles the mind. we could talk about title technology for three more hours. when you think you lots going on
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at area 51, a lot of tunnel system at that base, things that are going on, when will those be declassified? these of the great mysteries. i can't wait to write area 52. >> host: have you become a freedom of information request expert? >> guest: most definitely. my kids, i file so many foia request that sometimes, you know, they often come in the mail and they're usually eight by ten envelopes and this in the corner, nsa or dod or cia, and they are the ten envelopes because that means you open up one sheet of paper and is as request nonresponsive, meaning sorry, we couldn't find any information. every now and then you get a bigger envelope, and that is sort of a great moment of joy. that's what happened with "phenomena." i came home one day and there was a thick manila packet from
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the central intelligence agency, a foia request had been granted and there were almost 1000 pages of documents on these espn psychokinesis programs. that became the basis of "phenomena" and have a super interesting. that's what i learned about that the apollo astronaut ed mitchell was doing esp test going to the moon. the little details inside these documents are just priceless. >> host: let's go to "phenomena." you visited edgar mitchell, first of all, tell us who he was here you visited him in his last -- >> guest: the way i got the idea to write "phenomena," sort of the spark was researching "the pentagon's brain." i was looking at the apollo image library because so much of darpa has to do with space. it was the launching point of the organization, and i found this image and it shows an
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astronaut standing on the moon reading a document. and i thought, oh my god, this is an incredible image. you have advanced science. space travel and, you know, proto- technology, writing, reading in this one image. and i had to know what that astronaut was reading on the moon. first i found that it was edgar mitchell, apollo 14. >> host: six man to step on the moon tragedy yes. so went to interview him at his home in florida and i asked him what were you reading on the moon? and he said he was reading a map. so i mean, this gets even better. man on the moon reading a map of the moon. why was he reading the map? because he was lost. and that to me is just a brilliant, beautiful concept. it's so humid and it speaks to
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what we're just talking about with failures. how do you define failure? you have a program failure at the also have individual failure. and that often leads to people being lost or feeling like they are lost. and because i write narrative nonfiction because it's character-based, i care about the people i write about. i want to hear their story and how it becomes a metaphor for the bigger story. and so with mitchell, when he told me to start having lost on the moon, i was just come is remarkable. the brief version, i write at length in "phenomena" but what he said was, as a part of the apollo 14 mission, and keep in mind apollo 14 comes after apollo 13, right? the failed lunar mission. there was so much pressure on them to perform. th.the geologist wanted them too to calm crater and pull out samples, rock samples and believed that these rock samples could perhaps reveal earths
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origins and the moon, i mean, what a concept. you can do much more pressure on you. so he and alan shepard, that was the mission. so they fly 240,000 miles to get to the moon. mitchell was the pilot on the lander. he lands within 87 feet of the target, and then they get lost locally. trying to find the crater. it doesn't get any more human. and they had come when they found out they were lost and, of course, this speaks to many issues a perspective, where do you think you are versus where are you really come in that airless environment. made became confused and you can read all these transcripts, we are lost and we think we're here, we either. nas is tried to help them. the heart rates are going up. nasa gave him 30 more minutes and they couldn't find their way to the crater. there were told to go home.
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and so hearing from mitchell about this disappointment, going all the way there and missing what turned out to be the target by about 1000 feet, you know, it's amazing. he shared with me how disappointed he felt on the trip home. but looking out one of the five windows on the spacecraft he had what he said was an epiphany. he looked out and to him he realized that man was more than he previously thought. so he became fascinated in that moment with the idea of consciousness, the idea, what is man capable of? that's what i think my new book "phenomena" is really about the reaches of what can be known. mitchell came home, quit nasa, divorced his wife, made all new friends and began this trajectory into the world of esp and psychokinesis. he suffered dearly because of it.
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some say he got lost. that's not what mitchell said. >> host: why did he suffer? >> guest: he was ridiculed. i mean, he was ridiculed. you cannot pull up any article on ed mitchell with that kind of a snickering journalist pointed out that he conducted these espn expanded on the way to and from the moon. he suffered because of it. all of his colleagues were these hard scientist. he himself was. he had a phd from mit. but he had what is called a conversion moment. again another important thing in the book "phenomena." uyet scientists, businesses, individuals who have these conversion moments when dealing with extrasensory perception, psychokinesis, and they become absolutely convinced of the reality of the phenomenon, and a pursuant. some pursuant to the gates of hell as of right in the book.
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and others maintain a very scientific attitude toward it. but because the scientific skeptic community insists that this is pseudoscience, because, rightly so, psychokinesis, extrasensory perception does not pass scientific method must account the five steps, you must adhere to to move from hypothesis to genera general th. the most important being that it is repeatable. well, esp experienced are not repeatable. those pro this worksite it's the go by nature and those against it say that's hogwash. but i love this battle. there's a real battle between science versus supernatural if you will. it speaks to this idea of what are the far reaches of what man can know. >> host: in "phenomena," annie
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jacobsen, you have government document saying we cannot not prove that this is not real. it is since there's some doubt there. >> guest: there's doubt, come absolutely there is debt everywhere but the cia concluded at the phenomenon was real. but they couldn't repeat it. they said it doesn't take away from the fact that these real laboratory experiments happened. but now what i found most interesting in reporting "phenomena," the book, was about when they began researching and reporting, i was under the impression that the programs are buttoned up in the mid-1990s, the kind of downfall this one big defense department program. but i was astonished to learn that they are actually back today under the rubric of advanced cognition, okay? so the defense department is now merging this idea of the biological, a sixth sense, the office of naval research calls
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it the spidey sense. but instead of the parapsychologists of the '70s and '80s, now the defense department has employed neurobiologists, computer technologists, computer engineers. they are taking individuals who have the spidey sense, it's just a dressed up word for esp, and they are looking at their brain and trying to model was going on in their brains. and then of course to accelerate it and ultimately weaponizing, because that's the role of the defense department. >> host: because of your research have you had a conversion moment when it comes to those topics? >> guest: no. but i will, the harvard experiment a psychologist cartridge might or back in the 50s created this system to talk about -- gertrude -- how individuals approach this controversial subject matter. she sat on one side there were goats, goats with a scientific
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skeptics is that this is nonsense, hogwash, forget about all of that. she on the other hand, where those who were opened to the idea of esp, of psychokinesis. and i would say i began as a neutral journalist, but looking at many of these experiences, reporting from looking at documents, declassified documents and seeing what the defense department asked him what the cia thinks, talking to the scientists and physicists, the psychics, i kind of shifted a little bit toward sheep, like i open to the idea that it is unknown. you know, the conclusions are not yet in. i really think that is the idea of the far reaches of what can be known. for me it's wider to lean sheep, to not discount, not throughout
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the baby with the bathwater if you will. >> host: are the aliens at area 51? let's go to it. >> guest: my goodness, right? that's what everyone, i mean -- sort of a document area. i mean, so i interviewed 75 people for "area 51", all of whom had direct access to that base. all of whom went on record. one source remained anonymous with me because he gave me what was then, what still it's going to him classified information. he was an atomic energy commission scientist, and he told me this shocking story in the end of the "area 51" book pick it takes a 12 pages of the end of the book and it's what, you know, garners the most curiosity. whitey taulbee was that there was a program out there that he
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worked on which was a block propaganda program to create creatures that look like aliens. and it involves human experimentation. and he was very parsimonious with the details, that he was very succinct with going on the record about this. i interviewed him for over 100 hours. and by the way, stayed in contact with him after the book published and continued to have discussions with him. and he sticks by that idea. so the read on "area 51" as i tell the story as he told to me is they were not aliens. this doesn't mean that there is not extraordinary material that continues to swirl around the cauldron about why his information is incorrect.
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it's a big puzzle, but i really appreciated his candor with me. and i stand by everything that he spoke of and that i reported in the book. and he stood by it all the way to his death. >> host: welcome to booktv on c-span2. this is our "in depth" program. we have one author on to talk about his or her body of work. this month it is author annie jacobsen. our books, "area 51", came out in 2011. "operatio"operation paperclip: g ram that brought nazi scientists to america" came out in 2014. "the pentagon's brain" came out in 2015. and her most recent book is "phenomena: the secret history of the u.s. government's investigations into extrasensory perception and psychokinsis." just out this year.
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she will be our guest for the next two and half hours and ttip questions or comments you would like to make with annie jacobsen, here's the way you can contact us. you can dial in on the telephone, 202-748-8200 for those of you in the east and central time zones. 202-748-8201 if you live in the mountain and specific time zones. if you can't get you on the phone lines to want to make a comment, try social media @booktv as our twitter handle. you can also make a comment on our facebook page, facebook.com/booktv. you will see her picture, you can make a comment right underneath there. you can also send us an e-mail @booktv at c-span.org. we will begin taking your calls in just a few minutes. annie jacobsen, were you able to get any dollar figures on how much is spent in area 51, how much is spent on researching psychokinesis? what did "operation paperclip" cost? and darpa, what is their budget?
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>> all of the programs are what about all called special access programs. they exist in these very secret classification protocols that are far above normal classified protocols. so it is almost impossible to accurately say what the budgets are. one of the budgets i can give you is the darpa budget. that's public. so darpa spends $3 billion a year and that is the case, has basically been the same figure if you adjusted for inflation going back to the origin in 1958. extraordinary amount of money for 120 program managers. but that's only a public figure. so all of the programs or dinner with block budgets which means the money is essentially
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unknowable. on that subject i'll did one facet in detail that if i bet may be stance as the best analogy for all of this. in area 511 of the kind of creators of area 51 if you will was richard, deputy director of the cia. and the way which he became involved in area 51, if you back up a couple of years he got a call from allen dulles at cia saying listen, at the time he was in charge of the marshall fund. that was the plan to rebuild europe after world war ii. an extraordinary amount of money. he was in charge of it and i'm paraphrasing but this is the essence, can you skim some of that money off of the marshall fund and give it to us for our secret program? richard said again paraphrasing, are you sure i should do this? yes. he did it in just later he found out when he was made the direct of the area 51 project, remember that money you gave us, here's
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what it went to. these things come in wrestling he talks about that in his memoir. so you can find information, i as a reporter find information in the whole array of places from memoirs to papers that are stored at different archives, individuals, journals. sometimes the family could access to them. foia request, interviews. this is the joy of being a journalist. yet many different sources you are pulling from to try to piece together the story for the reader as best you can. >> host: somebody who plays a part in several of your books, edward teller. >> guest: almost all of them. i begin "the pentagon's brain" with, talk about a colossal failure. and against others will say this is a colossal win. the castle bravo bomb. this was a thermonuclear weapon. edward teller, the father of the
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hydrogen bomb. the average person thinks atomic weaponry, thermonuclear bombs, same cookie sheet. perhaps except for in orders of magnitude. thermonuclear weapons, one thermonuclear weapon can take out the eastern seaboard. there was one thermonuclear weapon exploded in castle bravo, out in the marshall islands. i begin "the pentagon's brain" with it. from the perspective of witnesses who were there and told me their story when i say colossal failure, it was supposed to be 6.5 mt. but it went out of control. his calculation and all of the site is working with him, they couldn't predict the future. they couldn't predict their own science experiment. and instead it was a runaway thermonuclear bomb. 15 megatons. just an astonishing amount of
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power, energy, and apocalyptic by its very nature. >> host: he shows up at area 51 and he shows up again in "the pentagon's brain" and "operation paperclip," the whole gamut. >> guest: he's a super interesting character. many people again would say he had hubris and that is trying to outdo his archrival, oppenheimer. other people will say he saved us from a soviet invasion. because he pushed the idea of the development of the thermonuclear bomb. which some of his colleagues by the way called the evil thing. they did not think of additional manhattan projects they did not think it should be developed because it could end the world. tell her push for and ultimately one. >> host: he was also involved with sdi trace or he gets into the program during the reagan
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administration. and again i have interviewed people who swear by his beneficence pick when i say that i mean because the castle bravo bomb which was a secret, no one even knew it went on at the time, we found out later the russians were only literally months behind us in the development of their thermonuclear weapon. and in this idea of the bow of the superpowers, acting throughout all of the books, the u.s. government must stay head. was interesting is at best they had. so do give credit where credit is due, when i was interviewing darpa scientists who said when we got into the realm of cloning, let's say, you thermonuclear weapons as part of the origin story, and today you have autonomous weapons, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, bio hybrid, human cyborgs. this is all darpa science. the darpa scientists would say to me when i would ask questions like is this what?
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they would say well, what if you would wake up tomorrow morning and find out that the chinese or the russians or even a dark horse like saudi arabia presented the world with the first clone, human clone? would american say we had been beaten by an enemy nation? that's why darpa exist. that's why these weapons programs exist, why area 51 exists. it's why paperclip existed. we must stay ahead of the rest of the world so that we are not beaten by technological surprise picsurprise. so far we have. >> host: $28 billion is it that you cite for the the development of the nuclear bomb in your book. 200,000 employed, kept secret from congress. oak ridge tennessee took more power than new york city, more electrical power. >> guest: i used that as an example of the anyone says come on, you can't really believe
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that government can keep secrets. they are not capable of doing that. it's a conspiracy to think otherwise. i cite exactly that. of course the government can, and does keep secrets. and the other side of the argument is it needs to hear. >> host: somebody lost to history but plays a role in the early development of some of this is vannevar bush. was he? >> guest: well, he was a scientific director of the manhattan project and also of the sort of still going back in time now to the years right before america entered world war ii. and there was an extraordinary sense of isolationism in america. we didn't want to enter the war and didn't feel that we needed to or should. but at the same time the president needed to make sure that we were keeping up with the science and technological
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advances that we knew the nazis were making, thanks to people like einstein who had already come here, you know. so you have secret sites, that's a i think secret sites began, with vannevar bush, and with these prewar technologies. america was hedging her vet, rightly so. because you can't start your atomic weapons program when the nazis are working on their triggering system. >> host: annie jacobsen is a guest. let's hear from cj in georgia. >> caller: good afternoon. actually, i have recently been interfacing with a gentleman actually that work for all to a national laboratories for over 40 years. he contacted me because she also knew i worked for one of the largest defense contractors. what's interesting is the
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manhattan project that you are speaking of, she went to great length about sharing with me that she thought my personnel who is outgoing and, therefore, she wanted to find some of the children or grandchildren of some of the scientists, african americans that actually work on the manhattan project. i come over the course of the christmas holiday for about three weeks, i contacted various agencies, fraternity organizations and was able to find five children of some of the individuals that worked on the manhattan project. and it was very interesting, one of the guys who is a doctor in washington d.c. said that his father kept journals and we will be meeting with him in the atlanta metro area in the next few weeks about various things. what was very interesting that general consent is his father
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never talked about his work, and that he would be gone for months, years at a time. as you indicated the secrecy. there were over 200,000 employees that actually worked on the manhattan project, and was in oak ridge national, oak ridge, tennessee, were actually i was reared pic i never even knew about it until i met this gentleman who i worked for for many years. the secrecy that actually exists both with the area 51 project, the national laboratory and others across the united states is so mind-boggling to me. it just, you know, we are here years later find out about all these secret projects and things that happened. but it's a lot of that. we'll never know about it and less journalist like yourself bring these things up, what's going on and oftentimes we're not aware of why the united states is going into debt because of these projects.
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>> host: than thank you, cj. any comments for? >> guest: you know, you're touched upon a very important thing for this, not on individuals who worked on those programs but their families. it's why i love tracking down and interviewing the children, if the parents have passed, the scientists. because you can kind of get a sense of that secrecy. the children knew nothing in many cases and also the wife knew nothing. but a lot of times they had and will share fathers papers that are stored in the attic. and so that becomes this idea of legacy i think is very interesting. i quickly found that when i worked on paperclip, and it went germany and interviewed the children of some of these major nazis who worked for hitler and then later worked for the department of defense. >> host: what was your reception like in germany? >> guest: it was either black or white.
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that but it was astonishing. was either no, no, i don't wano talk to you. father didn't do anything wrong. never mind he was a convicted war criminal. and speaking specifically about a convicted war criminal named otto ambroise he was hitler's chemical weapons developer. he was convicted of as a right in paperclip he was convicted of mass murder, slavery, genocide. sent to landsberg prison after the nuremberg trials and then was released by our u.s. high commissioner john mccoy. and went back into the world and then consulted for the atomic energy commission. i mean, when i tried to track, when it did track down dissent and try to interview him, he said my father did nothing wrong, he was acquitted. on the other hand, i interviewed other children of major nazis
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who had a very different take and were very thoughtful and remorseful and courageous in sharing with me the profound difficulty of that legacy that they must live with. on the one hand the sun cannot be judged by the father. bupsychologically it's an extraordinary burden to bear. so interviewing people who are not forthcoming with me about the complications of that legacy, i mean, i feel like that undergirds the book with significant that is deeply emotional. >> host: 1600 nazi scientist or so came over the "operation paperclip." how deep did their tentacles go here in this country? >> guest: they were in every weapons program that we were financing. there was a top nazi. that's a gross generalization
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but i think it is also very accurate. certainly for my reporting in my book i focus on 21 of the nazis who i found to be extreme cases, extreme meaning they during the war, they worked directly with hitler, himmler, speedier. and so when you think about that, then they were working for us with us. that's real drama in there. so i looked at 21, but there are 1600. i just am looking at those big files and mapping out where everyone went, yes, they were in every one of our weapons programs. >> host: i think i've read that one of those nazi scientist was the first director of the kennedy space center? >> guest: davis. they still give out the curt davis award, this kind of most innovative thinker in this world and i was shocked to find out this because the documents that i was able to get from a freedom
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of information act indicates that he was a hard-core nazi. he even wore the ss uniform to work in nazi germany. he turned in a colleague, ratted out a colleague for saying mean things about hitler, literally. and this guy got picked up by the gestapo. and we're giving them an award. this can think is astonishing. i called up the head of the organization that gives that award and he's very defensive and he said he was a great innovator and he did all these things for the apollo program. i said but what do you say to the person who says to you, he was a nazi? and his response was very interesting. he said no one has ever asked me that question before. so we have journalism who present the facts and let people decide what they think about those facts. >> host: was it known
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contemporarily that he was a former nazi and now he's running the kennedy space center? a lot of these guys come was at known? >> guest: very important question. absolutely not. from the declassified documents i learned that not only did nasa know about the past but they were complicit in making sure that this did not get out. this is the kind of quote from one of the von brown documents. because von brown, because it is so high profile, he was always being available into my journalist would ask him questions about his nazi past. he was told by nasa to say if you're asked, your answer should be i've been thoroughly investigated by the u.s. military. and he had been thoroughly investigated. they just didn't reveal what the investigation had found. >> host: you able to make some inroads in germany. have you been to darkness headquarters in the washington area?
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had actually set foot in area 51? >> guest: i have not been to the headquarters. they are very secretive about letting anybody in there. i mean, they like to present the idea that they are a beneficent organization. and they do some great things. we have the internet. the result of a lot of the work have profoundly impacted society and media easier for a lot of people. but let's face it, darpa's job as was indicated in this early mandate in 1958 is to create vast weapon systems of the future. so darpa is very secretive about letting anyone in and seeing what's really going on. area 51, no journals has ever been there, including me. i was taken by a group of former manhattan projec project scientn you're still alive to see what was then called the nevada test
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site, which is all the other areas, one, two, ten, 15, 20 that align with a 51. area 51 is over the hill. >> host: peekaboo? >> guest: i was in the test site which is where all the bomb craters are and you're kind of driving to the desert and you see where an old safe was blown up, like a big giant bank safe these were parts of the test to see what would survive a small nuclear blast, train tracks. the rubble that is out there in the desert is remarkable, the area is all concealed pics i went there and i kind of saw area 515 miles away but that's as close as i got. >> host: travis is called in from eureka california. yoyou are on with author annie jacobsen. >> caller: good afternoon. i'm interested in remote viewing, and what if any
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evidence that you research did you find to be the most convincing in favor of it being a fact? >> guest: thanks for the question. remote viewing for those who may not know is another word for extrasensory perception, and it was a term created by the cia in the 1970s to destigmatize the concept of esp, the concept of psychics, of psychic functioning. it became part and parcel to all of the programs that went on for the next 25 years across the cia, across the department of defense, over at dia which is at the defense intelligence agency. and as i write in the book "phenomena" there are extraordinary success stories of remote viewing, locating hostages, locating downed aircraft. you are also colossal failures.
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and again i tell both of those stories in the book, and i'll let you decide. but when you look at the fact of what some of these psychics were able to accomplish, were able to see, to know if the unknowable, with aca or defense department handler sitting with them inside of what was usually a cage, and electronically shielded room. so there's no way they could be getting information any other way, other than this mysterious sixth sense, which no one has been able to explain. so i would say the remote viewing success stories exists, and i write about them in the book. >> host: the pentagon spring was a finalist for the pulitzer, and this e-mail comes in from chris in houston, texas, -- the pentagon to bring -- he or she asks how does darpa research make its way from being purely military to something a company
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can sell to the public at large? >> guest: great question. so let's talk about gps. i mean, satellite technology interestingly find some of its origins in area 51. richard bissell and we talked about earlier, the sort of mayor of area 51 along with others we interviewed for the book, they were working early satellite technologies as they were running these airplanes, technology programs. every experiment with satellites, hoped it would work. think about that as a concept in terms of innovation. our whole military runs with the satellite system inc. at the center. but in the '50s and 60s these ideas were just coming online, and there was a mandate over at the defense department to create what we now know as gps through satellite technology, and it took decades to really come to fruition. but when darpa finally was able to make these systems work and
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this is kind of at the end of the vietnam war, this was, it was a military targeting technology, gps that you have in your smartphone. .. declassified gps technology because we wanted america to be able to be the innovators and the primary drivers of that in the commercial world and what's that you see. >> host: al, florida, good afternoon. you're on booktv. >> caller: good afternoon, folks. miss jacobsen in your book
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"knock na" do you mention a person named inga swan. >> guest: i do. she is the original super psychic and played a very significant role in the early years of the cia program, and also in the years of the defense department program. so there's quite a bit you can read about in "phenomena" about swan. the was a very charismatic person and a fascinating person. >> host: al, why do you ask about him? >> caller: with him in california in '69 when i was a scientologist, and he -- that's one of my questions. was anybody in scientology taken seriously in the phenomenal program, and ingle swan had contempt for people who reached the ot3. the said i can do what cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars
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with my hands tied behind my back. the other thing, there's two other things to mention to you. maybe some other time, not on this program, i could contact you if you're interested. but there is a study in the university of virginia, done about 30 years ago, that has -- that scientific through proofs things that tie in with cat you're degree. an extended conversation. don't know if you want to have it now. >> host: well, we don't have time now, al, but we appreciate your calling in. you do have a web site and we'll put that up on the screen. go ahead. >> guest: the scientology question is very interesting. of course, the intelligence community and the defense department were extremely anti-scientologist but you're absolutely correct that inga swan and others in the program had been involved in scientology
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and becomes a great point of contention and there's some mysteries that remain, and i think the biggest mysteries that remain surround a psychic that worked the same time as inga swan for the cia, and his name was pat price, and pat price sort of -- he outperformed inga swan in the psychic realm because where as swan was incredibly gifted at the time describing -- using is esp talent to describe situations narratively, colorfulfully. pat price could pull actual names, numbers can figs, off of documents in classified facilities thousands of miles away. and he was so good at this that a number of security investigations, high-level investigations, came down on him because people could not
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possibly fathom how he could know what he did. he died in 1975 under very mysterious circumstances. many conspiracies have arisen. one is that the church of scientology killed him. >> host: other do conspiracy theorists come to your book events? >> guest: yes ump i dead a great event with a scientific skeptic named professor michael schirmer for the area 51 book. he filled an auditorium and because it's near jpl in pasadena, it was sort of like half of the people in the room were big brains from jpl and the other half were conspiracy theorist we had this lively, raucous, debate, not just me asking questions but then the
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questions started going back and forth and sometimes they weren't questions. that they were shouting at one another. these are all important readers to have because i find that conspiracy theories often have root not truth and i write about this in every book, where you have an alleged conspiracy theory where is part of a disinformation campaign and i'm automobile to unearth these documents and demonstrate that things nor always exactly also they seem. >> host: would any of your four books exist if not for the cold war in russia? >> guest: no. no. they're all a product of that race, the arms race, between the united states and the soviet union. and often china comes in. >> host: george, e-mail: i believe bob lazar said that
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element 115 was the power source for the alien technology that he was trying to reverse engineer. since then, element 115 has been sin the sized and -- synthesized and it not a credible power source. any comment. >> guest: a little too inside baseball for me. interviewed him. but what i think the caller -- or the individual is speaking to is the fact that these ideas, these mysteries, some would call them conspiracies -- these are not going away. people continue to be interested because they feel that there are questions have not been aned and that, of course, speaks to this idea that we have been talking about, about transparency, government transparency, what can be known or should be known. why have to wake decades to have documents declassified. >> host: you also write about janet airlines.
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>> guest: the private airlines that flies from las vegas to area 51 and has its own conspiracies within conspiracies. i mean i have someone contact me recently and say -- give be the egypt airline schedules and they stopped flying during the day apparently and only fly at night. again, these mysteries and conspiracies fold within one another and they don't want to end. >> host: whoa are they called janet airlines and you describe the interior and landing, what it's like there have you been on janet airlines. >> guest: no, i have not. >> host: all right. >> guest: you have to be invited. manipulations, certainly area 51 you have to be ini invited out there. what is interesting in all of my books, it researching the super men -- interviewing the supermen of science, they say i read your area 51 book and i was out there
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and then tell me the program they were on, dale graph, leading scientist in my book, he was out at area 51. i said, dale, that's incredible. what were you doing out there? i can't tell you. >> host: let's hear from joel in egging, idaho. hi, joel. >> caller: hi, peter, great program. my father was a b-29 pilot in -- he never talked much about it but he ended up at bell aircraft in niagra until as, new york. there was an icbm program, and i can remember a picture of him and westerner von braun and he got into the x-1 and x-2 programs but you never heard much about whatever happened to von braun after he was at bell. what can you tell me about
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westerner von braun and where he ended up and what he ended up doing. >> host: thank you, sir. >> guest: it's a great question. there's another former nazi general, operation paper clip scientist who wound up at bell and that is walter dornberger and i write about him. von braun had an interesting trajectory him worked all the way through the apollo program and then retired and went into private enterprise, and then he was stricken with cancer and died. but von braun comes up in every one of my books. there's a fascinating story of where he loops in with the -- in the book that i've just written, "phenomena" with eury gelle rewho was a cia asset and had the defense department very concerned with psycho kinney sis, so spoon bending, what geller does, and people tell you
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our is a mosquito. the dod and the cia did not think so and they were concern what he could do perspective psychokinney sis is think of the delicate system in the icbm. they were concerned if he could spend a spoon that using his mind he could do the same -- disrupt the electronic system, and so when he came to the united states, he met with werner von braun and there's a photograph i have of the to of them but von braun was fascinated with geller. geller got von braun's watch to stop and he made the statement like i have no scientific explanation for how he did this, and geller got an old desk calculator that von braun had that had stopped working, geller got it to start working just by touching it, and this mystified
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von braun and because he was such powerful figure in the science community it racessed a lot of eyebrows that von braun was taken with geller. >> host: we had on this program a year or two back, jonathan rons, the men who stare at goats. >> guest: that is the remote viewing program, and one of the thing that i demonstrate over time happened with the phenomena program is that the cia was under the impression that this talent, which is still in the hypothesis stage, called enhances perception, the cia doctors believed that it's biological. it's individualistic, use the mozart analogy image not sing in the shower and then you listen to mozart's amazing music and,
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wow, that's different, that's biology. that is the metaphor that the cia used because they believed that individual people. ingoo swanning, pat price, uri geller had an extraordinary gift that the rest of us doesn't. the defense department took a different approach. they believed that soldiers could be trained to become psychic, and the grave problem arose because the cia advised against this. the defense department pursued it. and it led to a lot of problems within the programs because in many cases you had soldiers trying to be psychic, and having very little success. the same time you had individual people who were actually psychic, if you will, working on these program and having success and it created a catch-22
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because the defense department didn't want to believe that people were psychic because it flew in the face of science. >> host: a lot of corporations are involved in a lot of your books and a lot of this work, the rand corporation, raytheon, bush was the founder of that. raytheon corporation. a lot of money to be made on these projects? >> guest: this is a very important subject, defense crag. -- contracting, it speaks to what eisenhower said on his farewell peach about the military industrial complex, and the warning area that i saw was when i was reporting the pentagon frame, and i learned that the jason scientist -- now if you want to talk conspiracy, the jason scientists come up in the world of conspiracy. >> host: who are they. >> guest: allegedly this --
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before i interviewed the jasons, one idea is they're illume natty of the defense science world so i interviewed marvin goldberger, right before he died, who was the founder of the jasons and worked on many of the da darpa projects for decades and the jason scientists were full-time prefers -- professors the great universities across america and part-time defense scientists. so they would get together in the summer and solve for darpa whatever conundrum they were facing. they were called the supermen of science, and what i learned in the recent era in the modern era, there had been a shift in the defense department, darpa in particular, as kind of moved the jason scientists to the side.
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they still consult but they're not as important, was told, and what is important now in terms of setting policy and making decisions about what science projects will be pursued in the future is an organization inside the pentagon called "the defense science board," the dsb. as i write very specifically in o'the pentagon spring "you look the individual as the defense science board they're almost all full-time defense contractors. they are not part-time defense scientists and what you have is what eisenhower warned against, the very people who are deciding which weapons systems of the future the pentagon will pursue, are the same individuals who stand to make an extraordinary amount of money on those weapon systems.
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>> host: who runs darpa today, too you know? >> guest: darpa is directorless the moment but is really managed by these 120 program managers. as i said earlier, $3 billion in the hands of 120 program managers. they have extraordinary power to stop and start programs. they look outside of he military establishment as well and work with universities and research labs. so profoundly innovative. the true definition of blue sky research. darpa leads. the question is, do we like where they're leading us? the answer is, you don't have any need to know about that because most of the really intense programs that darpa is working on, artificial intelligence, autonomous weapons, these are classified programs. >> host: jake in west hollywood, california. thank you for holding. your on with author annie jacobsen. >> caller: thank you for taking
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my call. was wondering, you talk about money now. there is any mechanism by which the united states gets money from the companies that use darpa's innovations? i know if you read the biography of steve jobs or bill gates or any of these, they always have a stopoff at darpa. i know the screen -- smartphones, things like that. are we making deals where we get paid for that stuff? thank you. well, the way the money flows from darpa is it flows out of darpa, into the hands of the laboratories that are developing the weapons programs. so, yes, if apple has a product that darpa wants to develop, they would be paid. does that answer the question? >> caller: thank you.
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>> host: he is gone. let's hope that does answer the question. think he is looking for, there is a return on this investment in a sense. >> guest: well, would say the person on the investment happens in the civilian sector. if your make a product, if you -- let me give a better example. so i interviewed for the pentagon spring some scientists who are working down at uc irvine on limb regeneration. thing of the salamander, loses its tale and -- its tail and it goes back. these scientist believe that humans will one dibe capable of regenerating their own limbs. extraordinarily interesting to darpa in terms of wounded warriors. but this kind of research is 20, 30 years out. but the scientists at irvine told me, who is going to fund that? no one. except for darpa.
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so, darpa is willing to invest in very early laboratory research that leads to extraordinary new thingsle. the scientists i spoke to and write about in the book were very grateful for the funding because darpa because it allows them to continue research and seek grants elsewhere. 0 so there is a give and take that has to do with money coming in and new programs going out. >> host: one of the characters in o'the ping spring michael goldberg. >> guest: well, goldballot was the visit who took biological science to a new level. back up. researching the pentagon spring i was fascinated by the idea that the hard science of those days, missile technology, weapons, did not involve
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biological science. so, that happened, ironically, when the wall came down and you had soviet biological weapons engineers defecting to the united states. and bringing with them the big reveal that the soviets were breaking the biological weapons treaty and developing these horrific weapons. mixing things like ebola and influenza, to create a apocalyptic results so it led to this idea we need to look inside of the body, look at human biology, and that's where goldblatt enters the scene. about that same time computers were in the '90s, and computers are now -- computer technology is getting small so we are moving towards nano technology. and the defense adapt now
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becomes very interested in the idea of human physiology, what individual soldiers are capable of, how you can enhance that and create a super soldier, and goldblatt led the way through the late 90s and early 2000s and there was kick bach from the public. there was a robo rat and the idea was to put computer technology inside humans, and early prototype was the rat. so, they wired up this rat, and they were able to -- with the chip in his brain, darn science -- darpa scientists were able to steer the rat through the place. people were said it's only going to lead in a bad direction.
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the programs were curtailed. then 9/11 happened and there was an extraordinary amount of funding, and now these darpa programs today that i write about at length in "pentagon spring" involve pushing the biology of humans in another direction, and ultimately merging man and machine to create what used to be relegated to science fiction and that is the human cyborg. >> host: michael goldblatt began his career at. >> guest: he did. it's an interesting story how he developed a system that dealt with sterilization technology, for mcdonald of the wake of the back year scandles that put the fastfood restaurants in a lot of trouble, and the sterilization technology he there has to be a military
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application and darpa agreed with him and he became a very powerful player. >> host: kathleen from los angeles. hi. >> hello. i just wanted to speak about ions. i'm the co-chair of the l.a. ions group. which is the organization thatted gar mitchell -- that edgar mitchell started to mary science and spirituality. i had to comment on growing limbs because as an aclu -- aku punch tourist. edgar mitchell was skyped into the ions convention in chicago and the contact in the desert conference near joshua tree where he spoke about his career and being on the other side of the moon, saying how creators had no lava because it went
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towards our side. i was able to talk to him on the phone and ask him about the evidence that armstrong and his colleagues had run into aliens when they were going -- coming back from the moon and on the moon and they reported this on their private line to their doctor. not to the public line that we would hear about. and this instance picked up by short wave radio people they war reporting that there were people around them, aliens there with them on the moon, and i asked him if he had ever had that experience or if he heard that from armstrong, and he declined at the time. so, i don't know whether he had things he didn't want to share. but i just thought that it's such a wonderful organization that he started, and we would love to have you come and speak at a monthly meeting because right now or main project is fukushima, the extinction level event and why it's being ignored
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and we have a former nasa scientist who has a remedy for it. but it needs billions of dollars. so why are these things ignored and -- i don't know ump. >> kathleen, what is the ion society? >> caller: in the institution of know yetic sciences started by ed car mitchell after the epiphany and they do lot of research, they have the a campus in marin, and they do a lot of psychoken kin nettic research and it's showing the underlying -- when i lecture i calm my lecture the human electromag yet nick laser body. we have so many more possibilities and potential in our bodies, and of course this organization is just looking into that. >> host: thank you, ma'am. are you familiar with this organization? >> guest: yes. so, edgar mitchell came back
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from the moon after the epiphany, quit nasa, divorced with wife and started this organization. it became a front for the cia. and i found that fascinating. he became very involved in all of this, and he is actually the individual who brought geller to the united states and he was the front for the cia in doing that because geller was such a hugely popular figure think needed to mask the idea he was actually being tested by the cia at stanford research institute. >> host: are you familiar with kathleen and her work? >> guest: no. >> host: william in new york. hi, william. >> hello. i had one question. a couple of questions. if you in the anything about the philadelphia experiment and the time travels on long island and the secret space ships with the
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nazis and the time bell and the alien bases on the far side of the moon and that was it. >> host: thank you, sir. any response for him? >> guest: so we talked a lot about conspiracies and how they kind of weave their way through is there. because i write about these subjects from a cia oar dod filter, for me it's interesting to look at how these organizations deal with these subject matters, and usually it creates great problems. so, because you are -- for example in the book "phenomena" if you're prone to esp, prone to psychokinney sis, that leases to other useds that are long the lines of what the caller was talking about. and as i report in the book it became a real problem at dod
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because they didn't know hugh to set ground ruled. like you can think and talk about aliens but has to occur at home, outside of the military environment. and instead you had a couple of these individuals, these soldiers, who were using government time, government money, to conduct their own experiments using remote viewing, using esp to try to do all these sort of ideas that the caller is talking about and locate aliens around the world. the declassified documents on this are fascinating because dod did not know how to put a lid on this because they were concern -- i don't know if i was upsetting people or -- they just didn't, so it created a colassal problem and led to downfall of the program. >> host: emem, two questions: are you a ware of magicians,
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both retired and working, that actively debunk paraform phenomena. >> guest: i write about them in the book because it's important to address both sides sides of e aisle this issue. there is no doubt that magicians can bend spoons using predigittization. you can watch a million youtube videos demonstrating exactly that. the question is whether or not uri geller or someone like him can bend a spoon not using a magic trick, and i write at length about that debate, that battle. that is science versus supernarl at heart. >> host: second question. are you aware of the james randy's educational offer to pay 1 minimum who nip who can and it a paranormal phenomenon under
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controlled conditions and have you talked to him. >> guest: i interview randy for the book. i'm fascinated -- because i write about war and weapons, i'm facinated by battles, both personal, political, global. and randy and uri geller had this decades long battle over this subject, and they both -- all these decade later, they both stand by their ideas. one says this is hogwash, the other says this is a biological talent. so the reader might be interested to see that debate play out as it nose "phenomena" hopefully from a neutral point of view, showing different declassified subjects on the subject, showing what the dod thought of randy and geller, what they were saying, how they all played a role because their
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feud elevated all of this to a public dialogue, so that is interesting also because here they are making this an issue and the defense department and the cia are trying to keep it all secret. >> host: bob in overland park, kansas. you're on with author annie jacobson on booktv. >> caller: hi, beater, great to talk to you again. i'm interested in annie's book. i got up to chapter 11 eye. interested in a couple of threat threads in there one this early research done in psychedelics and the other thing is the degree which there was something on an arms race between russians and the americans in terms of trying to figure out how to explore the military uses of remote viewing, psychic research. used to live in california in and met russell targen and was
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fast mated with -- fascinated with him and did you interview him? and then another thing i'll leave you with. since you have didn't investigative reporting with darn to, you mentioned easterly idea that edward teller has his feet in so many different -- there's a new thing ear merging in terms of geoengineering and it was edward teller that came up with the first concept of geoengineeringing in terms of mitigating the effect of emp with the aerosols in atmosphere which now being taught touted a possibly mitigating global warming. >> guest: so your question is super interesting to me because it speaks to the oins of the
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psychic program and pulls from the original cache of nazi documents discovered after the war. so, one of the early ideas that the cia was following with psychokinney sis and esp had to do with psychopharmacology which is a fancy neighbor for drug. that's came from an 0 old aztec legend of using mushrooms and they would be able to tell you what was going to happen in the future or tell you who stole your donkey. so it had prophecy and intelligence collection. his got the cia's attention and they hired a man who has a foot
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in many conspiracy theories because he was a -- someone would worked on the mk program. so these themes weave through owl of my books with elements of truth. yes there was a program that the cia ran, mk ultra, subproject 58, that sought to per pursue hallucinogenic mushrooms for defense purposes. one detail i found fascinating was the cia sent one of its scientists to -- this is in 1953 -- to one of the largest mushroom growers in america, made a secret deal with them and said -- the plan was -- didn't reveal -- we would find the hallucinogenic mushrooms and mexico andhebring them back to united states and farm them and do the volume of the experiments that the cia intended seemed pretty negligent
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based on the documents. but of course the program -- the scientists who led the mission, of all things a banker from jp morgan named watson, and he -- after he came back from mexico with these hallucinogenic mushrooms he wrote a huge magazine article about it in "time magazine" and blew the cover on the program so it fell by the wayside. >> host: seems that when you start pulling a thread in one of your stories or in one topic you're researching, all of a sudden there's 100 threads you have to pull out here. >> guest: you must be careful of the rabbit hole because you do go down a lot of tunnels and i think also it's important to realize that some of these programs, dead end and they do dead end or end. others have different
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incantations or get rebooted and rebrandded, like the psychic programs of today. >> host: angie jacobsen has four books out: area 5, 1 uncensored history of america's top military peace. operation paperer clip, the program that brought nazi scientist america. 2014, the pentagon spring, finalist for the pulitzer, and uncensored history of darpa, 2015, and phenomena is her newest, the secret history of u.s. governments investigation into -- and dr. martin relationship -- e-mail -- i'm cure you will her approach to writing how does she get so much done. four books in six years is an amazing achievement, especially give the difficulty she mentioned with sources. how does the schedule her work, what advice she might offer to
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other writer snooze thank you -- >> guest: thank you for the question. that's near and dear to my heart which has to do with process. it also has to do with early failure, let's say. a theme i'm interested in, meaning i've been writing for a very long time since i was 15. went to boarding school with a typewriter and no one was reading what i was writing for decades. the fact now i have the great privilege of having people read me inspired me to keep at it, and to keep writing, and i encourage anyone who is writing to continue -- to sort of follow that idea because i think the only failure is quitting. if you just keep at it, how do i schedule my writing? i write full-time, and i'm always thinking about the --
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what i'm writing and why i'm writing it and looking at what is happening in the current climate of the world, and trying to balance out what are really the concerns we want to think about today, and filtering that back to where it is a lot of these problems come from and where are the solutions. i love the eisenhower idea. in his farewell speech he spoke of the military industrial complex which is so famous but what i left out where he talked about an alert and knowledgeable citizenry. and he said that is how you balance security and liberty. what a simple idea. just being alert and knowledgeable. and that is how i approach all of my books. stay too be plater read a lot and then i get -- i read a lot
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and be knowledgeable and then i go out and interview the people on the ground, doing the hard work, and tell their stories in my books so others can read them. >> host: eachoff your books is built in a sense on the last one. what is the next one? what's your next topic? >> guest: i always hate to talk about the next topic -- i'm actually not going to talk about it. >> host: i thought i had you there but but you have another one. >> guest: absolutely. i'm going to lint at it -- hint at it. i'm writing about the cia and i'm -- it's a really interesting new story. >> host: do you write at home and do you write offline? is it a computer you use not connected? >> guest: oh, what an interesting -- i most definitely write at home. have an office. live in los angeles and i have an office kind of through the garden. i take a little garden pathway
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and that's my office out there, free-standing, and it's small enough not to be distracted. >> host: is it connected to the internet. >> guest: my computer is most definitely. >> host: we talked to john gresham were and he writes on offline compute sneer i don't look the internet all the time but it is a huge resource and i also do a lot of writing long hand. certainly that's how i begin my chapters because i find the brain -- the human brain, it works at its own speed. at least mine does. so for me the process of writing kind of is like similar to my thought processes, so once i have information and i know how to begin a chapter i write it out long hand. usually the first couple pages are written that way. >> host: do you still write petrie.
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>> guest: sometimes. >> host: your books are dedicated to kevin. >> guest: kevin is my husband. the new book is dedicated to kevin, jet and finley. the jewel of writing is is get to hang out with my family. therapy a super source of inspiration for me because that has to do with the quality of life. if you enjoy your life and love who you are with then you are inspired, think, to do interesting and challenging things. >> host: what kind with work does your husband do. >> guest: a commercial actor, has been over. in every commercial you can imagine. >> host: such as? >> guest: you name it. >> host: where would we see him. >> guest: milk, cars, beer. >> host: i think we have some b roll of him in a car commercial here. the first commercial ever shown on c-span but he is in the nissan path finder commercial, and he does that full-time. >> guest: yes. yes. >> host: does he enjoy it.
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>> guest: he does. we're both entrepreneurs, and this world we live in where you're creative and trip to troppal and thoughtful, he is -- >> adopt think we have seen him yet. there he is. sitting -- driving a bunch of animals around. they that'sous husband. >> guest: that's my husband. >> host: 0 how long have you been together. >> guest: married for coming up on 21 years. >> host: we're going to continue our conversation in just a minute. after we look at some of the thing that have influenced her
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>> host: anie jacob seen you have rate about the lost monkey city. >> guest: a book at archaeological class. they're part and parcel to human
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nature and always bring in the idea of success and failure, and then also this idea of who are we and where did we come from? the more we learn about the past, i think it gives us ideas about the future, about where we're going, which takes me back to "phenomena." the reaches of what can be known. i'm fascinated when -- this the way the world was and then, oh, archaeology revealed actually it was a little different. >> host: you think darpa knew cell phone technology 30 years ago was going to be -- 50 years ago when it was first founded? >> guest: that's a great question. i mean i think maybe it goes back to johnson neuman who i write about, the original pentagon spring and he was kind of the inventor of the first computer that contained its own instructions. he -- we're talking in 1940s now.
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in the basement only the princeton institute for advanced study, where einstein was. von nouman created a computer called the maniac. it was like a giant calculator. so when you ask where are we now i go back to this. he was so smart -- a poly math. and he built this computer and originally, like in 1947 now -- he would -- his assistants -- he would pry to beat the computer at numerical calculation and his assistants would feed him the cal calculations calculations ad compute them in his brain and hi was able to beat the computer originally. then one day in the late 1940s, the computer beat von neuman. and really it's this profound moment. and right then and there von
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neuman said he believed that one day computers would be able to think. that idea of sensens so the smart finances pulls back -- smartphone pulls back. the original smartphone had more computer technology that nasa had when it sent ed mitchell to the move. think about that. who is can thinking about the future? certainly almost all of the scientists that darpa employs. >> host: john von neuman. busch, jrc lick leiter. not nameds that we know today. >> guest: lick -- licleiter is called the johnny appleseed. he was called upon to in the jfk
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era, to do something about what is called b-2 in military jingo. command and control. so, think of technology. talking about in the iphone. go back to 1962, jfk looking at a red phone. his own red phone. that's thephone that if you think there's a nuclear strike you have to call khrushchev, and think about the dialing capacity on a rotary phone. and darpa was brought onboard to try to speed that up using computers. at the time computers were the size of a room. so licleiter was brought up to speed up the process and while we was working on the programs there the pentagon he came up with this idea-isn't out famous memo which was this -- where he came up with this idea that one day people would be able to communicate via computers. he was talk about the internet
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in his mind but called it the intergalactic computer network and would be a relationship between man and machine hi planted those original sealeds for the arpa-net. he left and many capable people took over and built the internet and you have this linking up to the technology in our phone. so, what man is capable of thinking about is astonishing. what are the reaches of what we can know. what will we know next? >> host: you're reading norst mythology. >> guest: my husband is norwegian and my kids are norwegian and i love the idea of story-telling. love archetypes. karl jungy is my book. the archetype of the unconscious. these are basic tenets of
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basic -- how people live their lives what the strive for do they want for be the hero? that's an archetype. that's part of mythology. >> host: 202 is the area code, 748-8200 in the east and central time zone. 748-8201 in the mountain and pacific time zone. we'll also scroll through our social media sites and that way you can also make a comment via social media. july 9, 1947, roswell, new mexico, what happened? >> guest: you love -- i'm thinking maybe at home you -- >> host: a sheep more than a goat. >> guest: interesting. the myth of roswell is part and
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parcel to area 51. certainly to the idea that the government keeps secrets, that the military keeps secrets. that is when allegedly a ufo crashed and the military stepped in and took the evidence away. it links up to area 51, as i said issue because this source of mine -- because this source of mine told me he was part of the team that years later received the -- what crash at roswell at area 51 and this is the origin story of the alien myth of area 51. >> host: when you read your accounting of july 9, 1947 in area 51, it's very believable. >> guest: tell me what you -- everyone has a different interpretation of it. this is perspective. pov. tell me yours.
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>> host: you talk about the fact that there was a bulletin sent out that the air force sent out a bulletin or put it on the news this was found and then an hour later they had another bulletin and there were 4 7 witnesses. trucks being loaded and child coffins. >> guest: they're documented fact, and like the jfk conspiracy, there are numerous people -- we can't put a number on it -- that spend so much time going over the precise details. i go over them broadly but you mention the most important ones that -- i think when i say the most important because they're actually what we would call fact-checkable and when you have big mysteries and considerable discrepancies went the fact checkable information, i think
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it's fair to raise questions about what actually went on and why are you covering this up? because there is a coverup if you change your story. >> host: louis in texas. go ahead, lou. >> good afternoon. fascinating two questions. one, did you do any reviews of the books, bourn identity series in your writings, and do you think the current election of president trump with all the military in the cabinet and increasing the defense spending -- do you think that's a dark cia project in thank you. >> guest: i'm not familiar with any of the caller's books -- >> host: robert ludlum. >> guest: yes built tend to read more nonfiction than fiction, but as for the current
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administration, i attempt to stay out of politics, and this is why. because i think it's more valuable to maintain neutrality in terms of political systems, agendas, et cetera, because i'm reporting on the intelligence community the defense department, that doesn't change. the leader, the commander in chief changes but many of those individuals are entrenched and i know and work with many people on both sides of the aisle and i see their point. see both sides of the aisle's point. so i'm more interested in the battle. i'm here interested in the individual qwest and most interested in the young. >> host: well, given -- let's to operation paperclip. in all of your book outside can find this. have we morally compromised ourself as a nation at times?
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for goals -- do the ends justifies the mines? should. >> guest: that's perfect question sellways into the previous question. when i was work ago on paperclip my editor and i have conversations about make sure that i was showing both sides of the argument. ...
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was it a moral compromise? i'm telling you here on booktv that in my opinion yes, it felt that way when i was writing it. my job was to show both. i was on one television program that leans right, let's say. and they said i'm so glad you wrote this book. you showed part and parcel why we have to have this program. we have to have it. yes, we need to bring there because we had to win the cold war. i could be on another show that would lean left, and they would say thank you for writing this book. you show that this was morally reprehensible. we absolutely never ever should've brought these nazis
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here no matter what. you show it parson parcel, thank you. they read the same book, which speaks to my curiosity about perspective, about about, how people interpret the same fax. and that is part of human nature. the ability that we had to see things our way. i think things get really interesting when you have some would call a change of heart. others would call it a change of mind. that's what interests me in "phenomena" in particular because almost everyone who works in that world has what's called a conversion moment where they have a change of heart, where they have a change of mind. their life changes and the result are dramatic. >> host: i think of member and "operation paperclip" von braun, he had a conversion but it was calm he was born again as a christian. >> guest: yes, yes.
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i didn't interview him and i didn't interview any of his family members. it's hard to really know the reality behind that. and i mean the motivations, let's say. there's no way of knowing if it was personally motivated like from the heart or whether it was in motivation from his handler at dosso who said if you pull some good old religion into the next -- nasa -- you will be more appealing to the average american, then the former nazi scientists with a strong german accent. >> host: does this tie in at all to the project over in switzerland and france, the big bang, does a type in a doll some of the research that darpa is doing? >> guest: not that i know of. i wouldn't doubt it because alll of the sites is interconnected in an interesting way.
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we in america, the defense scientists, are always looking at what's happening around the world going back to that theme that we cannot be beaten. we cannot be overtaken by technological surprise. that's what happened with sputnik in 1958. 1958. they made into space before we did, and that hadn't never happen since. so there is good reason to say darpa is doing its job. >> host: e-mail, and this is from jim. do you have any knowledge of soldiers being expended on during the vietnam war era with drugs like lsd, also using, testing them with yes, ufos, et cetera? >> guest: human testing is an interesting and problematic era. in "operation paperclip" i write about the origins of the nuremberg code, and then in "area 51" i write about how the
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nuremberg code was defied what our scientists working for the atomic energy commission. conducting human experiments related to radiation. really nefarious experiments that were made transparent by the clinton administration. these are worthy documents, for import to look at because it shows you what is possible, right? what is possible flying in the face of something like the nuremberg code? i'm always on the lookout for that kind of work come for those kind of operation programs. i did not find any that the reader specifically is referring to. >> host: dave, cleveland ohio good afternoon. annie jacobsen is our guest. >> caller: thank you for taking my call and thank you for booktv. my question is concerning 1957,
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the year sputnik and also the life article with the multi color photographs appeared in 57. in april of 57 a.m. project 57. it. it occurred right before the nuclear test series operation plumb bob. in project 57 this was near area 51, plutonium are scattered across the desert and i wonder if you research in kerry 51 from if you give us any more details about project 57 that might be of interest. >> host: do you have come why the interest in these topics? >> caller: back in 1989 i was delivering mail and met a man who had been in hiroshima, a youth are mak. i saw a tv show about cloud samplers and i also started getting a lot of newspaper photographs relating to the nuclear test series. i was able to tour the test site in 1995, and i have quite a lot of documents i got from the government. one time i was at the electrical
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engineering public reading room down there in las vegas and i had in my hands uncensored documents. i saw the names and the rates of dose cloud samplers are getting. that was a thrilling day. i'm wondering a particular about project 57. trent u i read project 57 at length in "area 51". it was a fascinating cast because we did do that plutonium dispersal. and i tell it to the perspective of the sturdy cart out there at the time, i meant by the name of richard mingus. it's extraordinary what went on, the kind of fast and loose operations that the aec was conducting. i also write about cloud sampling because that is part and parcel to this because many of the test pilots who i interviewed for "area 51", including the great hervey stockman was the first man to
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fly over the soviet union in a you too. this is a 1956, bringing home a photograph of 400,000 square feet of the soviet union that had been unseen by intelligence community before. stockman then went on and was a nuclear test pilot and flew directly through some of those clouds that are being discussed here. so again this all kind of loops around together the different threads come out in different ways. >> host: the u2 was developed in area 51, right? >> guest: that was the cia's first biplane program. they called it eyes in the sky. the u2 and then when, so much of this is about we do this and then the soviets would beat us, our soviets would beat us back. we built the u2 to fly high enough that would be out of range of the soviet surface-to-air missiles. well then they built up their
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surface-to-air missiles. suddenly yet the incident, gets shot down. the cia start building this new airplane and we talked about called the oxcart and that was this incredibly secret project at area 51. 51. many of the same scientists, who gave me my original scoop, worked on the u2. then worked on oxcart. >> host: would it surprise you today if congress or the vice president were not aware of some of the things that are going on, or even the president? >> guest: i wrote that income i found that out, much to my astonishment when i was writing "area 51" and i was talking to a source about this incredibly secret program that allegedly involved human experiments out there. the crossover with the alien. and i said how come this is not uncovered during the clinton administration when so much of
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this that these nefarious human experiments out at the test site can public? and the source of the president did not have a need to know. that is an interesting statement. >> host: roy, new castle indiana please go ahead. >> caller: yes. kudos to c-span and you, peter, and to annie jacobsen. and i just have a little question here. i've talked with carol rawson that was there for a while, right arm to von braun in his latter days. and i communicated with her by skype, e-mail and talking with her and i just wonder if you know anything about her whereabouts and if she is still involved doctor grier and such, continue? >> guest: i don't. >> host: do any of those names ring a bell besides von braun? >> guest: no. >> host: where did he end up? >> guest: von braun backs he
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worked in the defense contracting industry, but from my lead on documents about him from the government is about after the apollo program ended so abruptly, it was extraordinary distressing to them. where you go from there? it kind of those famous scientist in the country during the apollo era, and then you know, people give up on the program. very difficult time, vietnam war. and von braun sort of, the way i read it, lost his calm he lost his wife and he became despondent pic and a right about that in paperclip. he is diagnosed with cancer and he died very quickly. >> host: craig, clearwater florida. please go ahead with your question or comment for annie jacobsen. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. i do question question about the
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current state of the art of secret aircraft technology in the u.s. does the sr 71 and a 12 spy planes were 19 \50{l1}s{l0}\'50{l1}s{l0} technology, the fy '17 stealth fighter was 1970s technology, and the b-2 bomber is 1980s technology. at the long time ago. have you heard about anything about current state-of-the-art exotic aircraft being operated on the u.s. and other capabilities? i do know about the air force is x-37 space plane, what it which is still in orbit after 600 days in space. tragic i think you nailed it with that last program. that's what of the more interesting ones i know that and i write about in "the pentagon's brain." the way i would approach that answer to say like if you look back at the technology in the 1960s with the oxcart and you
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consider going 2400 miles an hour, then, under these sick of programs you can kind of you get what must be going on today based on the information that you talked about, the programs that we know about, and then you kind of can speculate on what is unknown. those programs are kept secret because they are part and parcel to national security. the air has always been important space to dominate for the defense department. >> host: from page 364 of "phenomena" that you enter into extrasensory powers powers to a fine saddam hussein's weapons sites. >> guest: this gets into the downfall of the program. because you had some of the soldiers who had been trained to be psychic, retiring from the military and taking it upon themselves to offer their
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services outside the military and that is the situation you're talking about. that led to a grave problem because the protocols involved in remote viewing at the time were still classified. and so by bringing the very subject to the public that there was a press release on that,, because a journalist found that interesting. as they should. and then the kibosh was put on that and it took a couple more years for the program to really be revealed. but that was a former soldier going outside of the military offering private services to the u.s. >> host: since robert lazar in 1989 revealing area 51 to the general public, has the been someone else who has done this? >> guest: that's a good question. not specifically related to area 51. certainly the numbers of people
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interested in that are phenomenal. but, and yes, there are revelations all the time, but i think robert lazar learned an interesting, you know, came to an interesting conclusion, certainly in nine my interview with him about what happens if he reveals something in us post revealed, and the defense department learned how to deal with people who say outlandish things, or people who say things that they can spin is outlandish or, you know, reflect us outlandish. and also keep in mind when robert lazar made this declaration, the world was a totally different place in terms of our smart phones, you know, information is king now, and you can find some different things in so many different ways so it doesn't have the same power that lazar had going on tv.
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that was a big deal. >> host: when you put in a request to visit area 51, to whom did you put in and what was the answer? >> guest: i requested to go with ed levick. i presented it as we may be a terrific way to make transparent to the public, and the response is brilliant. it's always true to form. and they spin around the fax because they can't actually say i refer to as good leg thinking they would may be take the bait but they didn't. and, of course, it's like your request to go somewhere that we can't even say exists has been denied. >> host: what is area 12? >> guest: there are all kinds of areas the nevada test site, and have divided up all of them involve nuclear testing.
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area 13 was where there was the plutonium test. area 25 was where they were building a spaceship is good to take us to mars using nuclear weapons technology. you could write a different book about every one of those areas there. >> host: it you drive north of vegas i believe state highway 95, you go right past the air force base or through it in a sense. is that what area 51 is? how far off 95 is area 51? >> guest: area 51 instead of north in a different direction because it's inside the test site. but it's always played an interesting role because stories abound about pilots, because her but he knows you cannot fly over area 51, and every now and then there's kind of like some opponents there went into the tip of the box so to speak and
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there's a report, most of which is redacted. but yes, they were canton cloth and the outset. that part of the country all these different classified areas out there. if you look at a map it's between china lake and california and area 51 and nevada. the test site. these are huge swaths of land where classified military technology is fully underway. >> host: when you requested to visit the headquarters of darpa, which you describe in your book, "the pentagon's brain" as being in arlington virginia, what was the response? >> guest: same thing. they really want to be able to control the message i think more than anything. and the idea is welcome if you keep a journal passion and journalist out your definitely controlled the message because they are not in. so that is an ongoing source of frustration i think because i do think that there's a responsibility by government to
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try and make the facts known and try to make some of these facilities available to people like myself. but what darpa said, which they give a good point, they are not a laboratory. it's just administration that's going on, or so they say. so they were saying you were going to do better visiting the actual laboratories. and so i did. >> host: and there is a headquarters on your screen. does nasa have an official position on edgar mitchell and his turn towards esp and psychokinesis? >> guest: you know, i don't know after an official position but you can definitely, i could in reading the document, you could get a sense of, i don't want to say disappointment, but that's the word that comes to mind. you know, they like individuals who are part of their big programs to stick with the park, stick with a message so to speak. he had some wild ideas.
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he became very interested in the idea about aliens, toward the end of his life and he spoke about at length. and i think a lot of, you kind of go where the love is, for lack of a better expression. he's getting a lot of, let's say, nastiness from nasa. they brought a lawsuit against them at one point over some equipment. and he is being embraced by individuals who lean towards what i would call conspiratorial ideas about aliens. and he definitely leaned towards that way. and again it cost him, you know? but i find it really interesting. what i also found fascinating was his relationship with gelder. because i interviewed gal at length in "phenomena" and i
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found him to be extraordinarily interesting and dynamic. i also wound up at prime minister netanyahu is house when i was with gelder in israel, raising extraordinary questions about whether or not he works for -- which is why he left the cia program. but when interviewed mitchell he spoke so highly of gelder and when i spoke to kelly spoke side of mitchell. they were like foils for one another. to mitchell, he represents everything that is possible to that idea of the far reaches of man and of biological capability. and geller, mitchell represented the great explorer, the great hero because he was young when mitchell went to the moon. he was in his toys and he told me that ed mitchell knowing about geller telepathy experiments and his public persona, mitchell sent him a
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photograph of himself on the moon and cited and said to the public, go, yuri. this made them feel -- really dragged through the mud. and he said mitchell gave him the kind of, the stamina and energy and the hopeless to go forward. they just had this passing friendship over the decades that i found really mysterious. >> host: finish the story about being at prime minister netnews house with uri geller. how did you get there? >> guest: how did we get there? a quest narrative. i was interviewing geller and i wanted to spend a lot of time with them because i wanted, i figured that it he was a
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magician and he was doing this act by preaching to station and what randy and others do, magicians can bend spoons by just a trick. i figured if i spent enough time with geller, i might be able to see a crack in the vale, so to speak. which i never saw. i was with him for several days like eight and ten hours a day walking all over tel aviv. and everywhere we went, and he so famous turkeys most famous person individual, it seems like everyone ask asked him to bend a spoon committee did. these remarkable circumstances and big soup spoons and the kitchen once in a restaurant. it was really -- >> host: you saw that happen? >> guest: i thought have a turkey doesn't necessarily touch the spoon. that's what i found fascinating. i saw him bend a pair of -- for two north africans were there. they are crafted to withstand extraordinary heat. he did that.
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they are like this and he kind of held his finger, it was remarkable. but the one situation i was curious about and i wasn't come i told him i wasn't really buying this idea that he worked for the mossad as he told me that he when he was a little boy that administering pics i wondered going to this archetype, all, maybe this is kind of childhood fantasy. and i said that to him. i'm not buying it. what would them aside 94, the spoon bender quick he got angry with me. he has a very big ego by his own admittance. and then a few hours later we walk up to the residents of the prime minister. what was amazing is everybody knew very geller. the agent, the protective detail, hey, what you been dispelletospend for us? he was bending spoons. it just had this very surreal quality to it, like there is
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something going on that is outside the scope of the journalists need to know. and i found it really fascinating. and then of course we were sitting there in the residents, and then geller disappeared into the back, and i wondered is this how the mossad works? i don't know. it's industry. >> host: it makes you more of a sheep than a goat. >> guest: it makes no more of a sheep than a coat, you. that kind of experience. but really it makes me open to the idea. it's like i'm open to the idea because i'm open to the idea of its craft -- quest to determine, to think about and what can be known, what is man capable of? and if you think of the world we live in now and is astonishing rate of technology, young said
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that when he and the nobel laureate physicist wolfgang pauli were discussing esp, that a decades long debate, esp, fact or fantasy? and young said you can only judge what is possible by the criteria of the age, right? to think about what we've been talking about for hours now, where we are now with computer technology. i mean, where we are with space travel. this is science fiction decades ago, and now it's all possible. so if you allow yourself to hold that idea and not be so judgmental againstthese ideas that yes, for millennium have been aligned with the supernatural, have been aligned with magic. but if you can just hold the idea and think about it, i think
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there is more to be revealed. >> host: don, houston, texas, annie jacobsen is our guest. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. i was in the air force for eight years and i was in, at -- for five of those years, and some things happened at brandenburg. i worked with nasa in with the 4392nd and i met carl sagan. i also met the girl that was over blue book and there was rumors, and i saw a number of officers that landed on a private aircraft. we were told they were majestic 12 people. a few days before this gathering of whatever you want to call
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them, early afternoon, three ufos passed over our base and all the power went out for 15, 20 minutes. it was a fact-based. we had missile silos but we were not a nuclear armed missile base. they transpired missiles that would be used if we did go to war with russia. >> host: did you actually see the ufos yourself? >> caller: yes. i was at dock site when they pass over, and my work partners was outside the silo, and other people were standing in the area, the air police were out there when, where they passed. they didn't pass. they came to a stop, and i remember, i looked at my command
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and he can look at me. i said look, am i seeing what i am seeing are what? he kind of laughed. he said, i'm not sure, but he said, you know, i don't think with anything in our industry that can do these kind of things. and i said well, you know, i set a think you're right. and then they took off on a high rate of speed and then they came back about three or four minutes later. they hovered right over the missile silo sites and then they headed out towards where the nassau launch with communication satellites and sometimes it was top-secret operations and then i guess they were launching whatever for the military. and -- >> host: are you convinced these were ufos? >> caller: well, because of this happened, okay, i walked the fence. i didn't say yeah, we are alone.
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i'm an irish catholic and i told a person one day, be ashamed if you know the god that created the universe put us out here by ourselves all alone. >> host: thank you. let's hear from annie jacobsen,, or did you have a question for him? >> guest: so, ufo, unidentified flying object. i write about this at length in "area 51", unidentified flying objects. there are two sides of the aisle, those who say they come from another galaxy, let's say, and those who say they are identified flying aircraft, meaning they are still classified projects. and one thing i can tell you for certain is that ufos were part and parcel to the early days of area 51 because the u-2 was often mistaken for a ufo. the oxcart was often mistaken
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for ufo. and the interview pilots and tha scientist working on this and the official from the government who were in charge of putting the kibosh on those reports. sometimes people who saw them, and again what nursing was the oxcart, okay? they would see this shiny object going at a speed that was inhumanly possible because 2400 miles an hour was an unknown speed to be able to fly in the early 1960s. so the fbi would knock at the door and literally pay a visit to the people who reported these to let them know that they didn't see anything strange. and that created its own new conspiracy. a cousin of the fbi shows up at your door and tells them you did see something that you know you saw. that's not to completely disregard all of those individuals who firmly believed they had seen things in the sky that cannot be explained. i just think there are different sides of the argument. >> host: all of your books have been bestsellers.
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does that surprise you? >> guest: someone who has spent decades trying to get someone to read what i was writing, yes, that surprises me. it's the best kind of surprised. >> host: why did you give up on the great american novel? >> guest: no one was buying the great american novel from annie jacobsen. it's important to benefit to where -- pipit to where the work is when i say work i mean employment. when i became a reporter, that really change things for me because i was able to accept that so much of writing at least for me is craft. it's just stay at it and keep at it and ultimately you will find and narrate the story. >> host: a couple of your books are in a movie mode, aren't they? >> guest: they all are. they're in television dillon.
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my new book "phenomena" was just optioned by stephen spielberg. so it's amazing to get some of the old guard, et, close encounters. let's face it, spielberg built this genre in the fictional world. in the modern fictional world. and then blumberg responsible for not only the horror genre becoming so popular, but they also make really interesting movies like whiplash, document is like the jinx. and those projects are all about what makes you uncomfortable. i think and you with phenomena is squishy site idea, this idea that the senate of the battle between the skeptics and the supernatural us. it makes people really uncomfortable because they think one thing and then they talk to the other side and a think that
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think that i find that super interesting because we have to ultimately come to terms with her own belief set. a lot of times it's a process. the amazing thing about film and television is there sort of a gentle way into many of the subjects. they spark an interest in the nonfiction world i think. the work part and parcel. >> host: explained hollywood. you said "phenomena" has been optioned by both spielberg and bluhm house. happen to people optioned as a product? >> guest: they team up. like two great teams and in the content is cratered of how to move forward. if you see that "operation paperclip" is in development with brad pitts company which is called plan b. and rat pack, which is brett ratner is company and they team up. a lot of times you have come and in "the pentagon's brain" you have jj abrams bad robot, the
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people behind star wars working with warner bros. and area 51, amc with the woman who cowrote the terminator. but again i thinkscience fiction is super interesting to a lot of people from my favorite thing, the reaches of what can wbe done. so much of science fiction winds up becoming the truth. and, in fact, so many scientists, famous scientist, nobel laureates tell me that their ideas come from reading science fiction as a child. >> host: well, george orwell was one of your influences. why? >> guest: i mean, you know, that idea of what the future may be like is very interesting to me. and unlike cautionary tales because you can see what you want to avoid. what you hope to avoid.
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the idea of dystopia is a spooky one, and particularly important this speaks to "the pentagon's brain", the last chapter in "the pentagon's brain" i wrote about darpa's quest to create a synthetic brain. and my visit out to los alamos to meet with the scientists were working on it. will artificial intelligence lead us to a place that george orwell would've written about, or did write about? or will it liberate us? it's that eisenhower question. how do security and liberty live side-by-side? now that artificial intelligence is such a major player everywhere, the quest for it because of course we have, whether or not we will achieve machines, but we have yet to know. but the defense department is
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moving in the direction of marrying autonomous weapons, drones, with artificial intelligence. i see danger in that. i see the cautionary tale. >> host: marcia, union bridge maryland e-mail you were you ever threatened because of the research you do for your books? do you know if you've ever been under surveillance? >> guest: look, there are capabilities of the government are extensive. in terms of surveillance. i write about that in all of my books. i just really keep my nose clean, meaning i'm just after the fax. and i talked to scientists who worked on. secret, very classified military programs, and they are aware of what they can say and what they cannot say. and that's really where the risk is.
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so i'm just contrary grateful that scientists agree to talk to me because it would perhaps be easier to say i can't. because they're the ones that have to tell that line and keep these ideas in the mind, okay, i can talk about that program and i can't talk about that. because you cannot disclose classified information. that's the risk that they take which is a far greater risk i think then me as a reporter writing narrative nonfiction. >> host: gene in hillsboro north carolina good afternoon to you. >> caller: i wonder if you could maybe confirm or say if you covered about this rumor that was running around at one technology company i work for a long time ago, that is special forces delta and seals get a chip embedded for identification purposes like after the failed iranian hostage attempt.
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they got remains back and after that they decided they needed to put chips into those guys so they could maybe identify remains easier. >> host: thank you, sir. >> guest: the chipping technology is very controversial. yes there are chips in the body for identification purposes. civilians do that as well. but there's also the chip in the brain programs that are right about in "the pentagon's brain" at a think are far more of concern and again they are presented by darpa under the rubric of warrior wil wellness, under this idea that brain loaded soldiers can have a chip in the brain and they can work on these programs to bring back some cognition. but this is a very slippery slope area, and even the scientists who i interviewed advise the pentagon not to go in
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that direction for fear of, and this was an exact quote, it could lead to high quality brain control. and when you have, i can come back cautionary tale idea, when you have a warning from a group of scientists who have been advising the pentagon for decades and the pentagon chooses to ignore that, i think it's important that those facts be known. then the citizenry can decide whether or not they think this is a good idea, putting chips anywhere in peoples bodies. >> host: but on the flipside then what if the russians could what if the chinese are working on this and we don't want to be caught technologically surprised? >> guest: and that's always the argument. so you would have to say he was pushing science where and why, right? and yes, darpa is absolutely on the cutting edge of all these technologies by the russians
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also have a darpa and so do the chinese. >> host: paul, huntington beach california annie jacobsen is a. >> guest: we have about 15 minutes left. >> caller: thank you very much for putting me on. i have a number of questions. the first question is bob lazar, and i'm sure you discussed bob lazar. the interesting thing is by coincidence he was hungarian and apparently doctor teller recommended that he work on reverse engineering. so i wonder if you've already discussed that i was that you would like to discuss it? item number two, i visited wright-patterson air force base last year, and, of course, the roswell incident involved the removal of debris initially to a
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special anger at wright-patterson ai air force b. anything from there it was spirited away to area 51. and unfortunately i haven't had the opportunity to read your books, but i will because i'm a neighbor. so that's another area. the third area that is fascinating is, back in the '90s and american military gentleman, a colonel, published a book in which he theorized based on his experience and proposed the fact that alien craft an alien reverse engineering was largely responsible for the explosion of technological breakthroughs that took place in the 50s, and that many of those breakthroughs were done by darpa and then
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disseminated through the private sector. >> host: we will leave it at those three questions, but very quickly, do you believe that, on your third question? >> caller: it's, it's hard to disprove because the explosion, if you take a look at the development of human civilization, there are timelines when major discoveries are made. archimedes, aristotle, the euclidean therrien, you cut through isaac newton. but there's huge concentration in a three decade. of explosive discoveries, simply is statistically out of the norm of human evolution, at least i
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certainly feel this because we are looking at computing looking at bioengineering, look at the discovery of the transistor. we are looking at a tremendous proliferation of use of silicon, and the additional electronic discoveries. but in particular, kelly johnson, skunk works, and i'm sure your family with skunk works. the aerodynamics that emerged out of the skunk works and subsequently are so radically different from the previous history of aerodynamics, in particular the sharp aerodynamic edges of the u2 which was -- >> host: thank you for that and i apologize. i think we got the gist. >> guest: many of these subjects are covered in "area 51", from lockheed, teller, bob lazar.
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these are all ideas pick you to think about going back to what we're just talking about, what is possible in any age, okay? the idea of strange things in the sky has been an issue that people have thought about and contemplate and created art about going back to pre-civilization. i visited the british museum was writing the "phenomena" and looked at the earliest examples of what people that were ufos. i looked at writings from the library. the omen, rulers back in 600 bc would say who will win the war? i went to the oracle at delphi, that kind of read and feel what itwas like to work with prophecies. the prophecy, ufos, man, civilization, biology, what is possible these are all part and parcel to all the subjects i investigate. and i just love the fact that
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there are ideas that exist, and we look as journalists come we go into the documentation, we interview people. we present the stories as best i present the stories that i do in my books as best as i can, based on eyewitnesses, based on documentation and based on the work of other journalists before me who have laid the tracks down. and so the story is always evolving and changing and transforming but ultimately it's going in that direction about what we know about the past, and how can we use that as we move forward in the future and make sense of this world that we live in, where technology is advancing at this astonishing rate, and yet we and our ideas, our brains are still relatively the same. >> host: what about his point that all of a sudden we had these great technological leaps beginning in the '50s? >> guest: many scientists talk
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about that idea of knowledge kind of the same discoveries cropping up in different parts of the world at the same time. and that is super interesting. one of the things i write about in "phenomena" that i did not, that is new to my sort of works, if you will, speaks a little bit to the readers question and to your point. it has to do with this idea of where this inspiration comes from. eureka moment. and i will tell a story about the great charlestown and what he told me in her interview. charlestown won the nobel prize in the early 1960s with the laser. arguably one of the most important technological inventions of the modern era. i mean military applications, laser weapons, civilian use, eye surgery, the laser printer. and i bring this up because the scientific skeptics always go
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crazy on this idea and on balance when you think the idea about to tell you come from charles townes, it kind of puts things in perspective. i asked him to confirm with me a kind of story that was after about him, that the idea of the laser came to him while he was sitting on a park bench. denny said yes, that is right. that was his eureka moment. now charles townes wheeler is a man of faith. so that eureka moment to him in his view of the world and in his perspective was something akin to him from the supernatural, okay? and this i think speaks to the callers questions about where are these ideas coming from. and some people, the sheep will tell you that great moments are not limited to i came up with this i can myself sitting at my desk.
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there are three nobel laureates i write about in the book will talk about these eureka moments and to believe that these ideas come from without. i think the whole world and the narrative of aliens and higher intelligence, a b even consciousness that is touching upon that theory that there is a greater intelligence out there. and i think that it's not, i think it's unwise for me anyways to dismiss this whole cost to take the position of the goat and essentially ridicule it. i think the idea of being open to it is far more interesting and far more courageous. >> host: deck, troy alabama you are on booktv. >> caller: c-span, thank you very much for the last two hours and 50 minutes. this has been absolutely captivating. ms. jacobsen, i have a question. first of all i would like to tell you, you just sold for
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books because i'm going to buy them tomorrow. but what i'd like to know though is, you made this quotation twice about, attributing, eisenhower was farewell speech. but the balance between security and liberty. is an informed public. i want to know this, and please don't consider this to be a mean question because i don't mean for it to be. but just how much should we know about what's going on? >> host: we would get an edge in two seconds. will you tell us a bit about yourself? >> caller: i'm just, i try to be a writer, but not very good
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at it. i'm not very wise. my knowledge is very shallow. i really couldn't, i don't even know if shallow would be the proper word about what you are talking. >> host: what kind of work did you do? are you retired? >> caller: i taught school for a while that i been a lot of other things, too. but this has been a most most enjoyable show. and i wish you would write a novel, ms. jacobsen. >> host: there we go. >> guest: thank you so much. >> host: how much should we know? >> guest: another theme that i'm always writing about. because when you see some of the programs declassified and you realize what was at issue, what was at stake, there is very good reason in many instances to keep those programs classified so that the other side doesn't come
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isn't aware of that, and it remains to defensive measure. there lies the conundrum of the military-industrial complex. i think the question is brilliant. because the military-industrial complex exists for a purpose for national security. but if their goal is to see up the revelation, then you also have what one defense department official described to me as a self licking ice cream cone. right? so in other words, if you could have a great weapons system that state classified, and the other intelligence community on the other side knew about it and couldn't defend against it, and the goal was to keep the two powers in check, then essentially you have an effective weapons system. the minute that system becomes known, like the fy '17, then
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that becomes obsolete and it creates an entire new vacuum, i.e. new business for the defense contractors to create a new weapons system. so it's a great question and i think there is no easy answer but the investigation, the investigator in the is infinitely interested in pursuing that thought and find out what i can and presenting those faxed to the public. >> host: this is an e-mail from joe. which one or two programs would you like to see released to the public tomorrow? which one or two wake you up in a cold sweat? >> guest: i mean, that's a great question. but i don't know because i think the old, really and truly see unknowable programs are the most interesting. it never ceases to amaze me when you learn about a program that no one knew about before.
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then you really know the government is doing its job of keeping things secret. but if i had to say looking back, i think the weapons tests that we did in space are extremely interesting. and i would like, i know a lot of those are still classified because i've reported on those, and that speaks to the space race. there is talk right now with the current administration of rebooting the space race i think that is extraordinarily dangerous for a number of reasons, first and foremost because they are also talking about perhaps a return to nuclear testing. that's frightening. and if you look at the weapons tests were done in space, you get a sense of how dangerous this all can be. >> host: please go ahead with your question or comment for annie jacobsen. >> caller: this is mr.
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jacobsen, and thanks for having me. i 92 years old, and my grandfather first name was tourville. that was leif erickson brother. so i don't know if any relative or not but i thought it would bring it up. the question i wanted to ask is, do the government still have all that material they picked up at oswald? i mean, over at oswald, the city of oswald? >> host: the city of rossville. thank you for watching. >> guest: amazing you have the adventurous spirit in your blood. but for the roswell remains can we don't know where they are. >> host: do we know there were remains? >> guest: i mean, it depends
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on who you ask about the remains. i write about that in area 51. 51. i think that's one of those mysteries and maybe to your earlier caller, if there was a program that could be declassified, could you imagine if roswell was really declassified? >> host: annie jacobsen is the author of four books. first came out in 2011, "area 51". "operation paperclip" came out in 2014 and i was the secret intelligence program that brought nazi scientist to america. "the pentagon's brain" came out in 2015. at her most recent book is "phenomena: the secret history of the u.s. government's investigations into extrasensory perception and psychokinsis." she tells us her next book will
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have something to do with the cia. that leaves it pretty broad i guess. do you enjoy the book to her? >> guest: i love it. i love you and eating out on the road and talking to people who like to read. it reminds me of that image that we talked about of edgar mitchell, the man on the moon reading. and you think about this idea, the archetype of reading, of knowledge. i often say i the best job in the world. i get to write books and listen to what readers think about and what the expense of reading a book and then how it influences them in their lives and their thinking and as they become more alert and knowledgeable part of the citizenry. >> host: let's hear from barbara from newark new jersey. >> caller: speaking about near-death experiences and extrasensory perception. i had a near-death experience
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and i think the brain is more powerful than any computer. also, have you heard of dark social? it's supposed to be something where on the internet people can read what you write on facebook or in any kind of log or anything and then they take it and they write it and claim it as their own. and then when you go to verify your own writing, you're being told that you are plagiarizing yourself? >> host: before you go you talked about near-death experiences. what was yours? >> caller: i fell on concrete, slipped and hit the back of my head on concrete, and i had no, nothing to prevent my whole weight hitting just on the back of my head. and i was out for, i don't know how long.
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but when i got in the ambulance, i saw, i don't know whether it was vertigo or what it was, but it was like a jet speed it up rocket ship speed, like, in front of my eyes, but it was, it was going from left to right or right to left. and it was like, what would you call it? like a slot machine going in front of my eyes. >> host: i apologize to her almost at a time. near-death experiences. have those been investigated as well? >> guest: yes. i write about them in the book "phenomena." because that's the conversion moment for a lot of people where they have a near-death experience and they come back from that with extreme conviction about what they are now going to pursue it and it
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often has come as the caller explained, to do with consciousness. what is the brain capable of? because if you go somewhere else, come back, you sort have a different perspective. and i find that super interesting. post the medical research involved in a lot of the things you have looked at? >> guest: yes absolutely. human physiology. that's what we are today with the psp program. instead of the parent psychologist you know biologist, neural physiologists looking inside the brain and inside the body and working to map the human brain is a remarkable concept, particularly when you put the military in the mix because the military is working to enhance human functioning, enhance cognition and ultimately to weaponized the systems. either civilian applications? like all things.
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>> host: annie jacobsen has been our guest on booktv. ..
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